Major Page Links:    HOME        STUDENTS        TEACHERS          JUDGES          VOLUNTEERS        MENTORS
March 11-12, 2014
at the San Jose Convention Center

Application Postmark Deadlines

Oct 24 , 2013 - Deadline
for Sr High Applications needing SRC pre-approval.
Jan 9, 2014- Deadline for Middle School Applications needing SRC pre-approval.
Jan 30, 2014
- Final Deadline for all Applications


  Project Status

  Handbook Information
  2013 Newsletter 
Sponsors & Support
Special Awards
Board of Directors 
Contact Us 

SCVSEFA History 


2008 California State
Sr High
Teacher of the Year-Amanda Alonzo, Lynbrook High, San Jose
2007 California State
Sr High
Teacher of the Year-Carol Evans of Oak Grove High, San Jose
 2006 California State 
 Jr High Teacher 
 of the Year-
Dawn O'Connor
 of Solarsano Middle School,  




   Project SPONSORS, MENTORS, and PSPs      


SPONSOR: The sponsor is usually a teacher at the school the student attends. The sponsor is the primary contact with SCVSEFA for applications, paperwork, etc.

The sponsor takes responsibility for submitting and signing paperwork. If the project was done at school, the sponsor is also responsible for active supervision of the experimentation.


MENTOR: The mentor provides specialized technical guidance in the specific area of the student’s research.

The sponsor and the mentor may be the same person.



Homeschool students can enter the fair as Parent Sponsored Projects.


Students who cannot find a teacher sponsor may also enter Parent Sponsored Projects under the following conditions:

  1. No teacher at the student’s school is willing to sponsor projects to the Synopsys Championship.
  2. Participating teachers at the student’s school are only willing to sponsor their own students and the student’s teacher is not participating.
  3. Other exceptions may be granted permission on a case-by-case basis.
  4. Parents of students coming in under PSP must attend a TEACHER workshop.




There are no limits on the number of applications which can be submitted by high school teachers, but middle school teachers are limited as seen in the chart below.




How to get additional submissions

First year in the Championship

more than 1 year in the Championship, but no projects winning a category award last year


5 projects/teacher.

10 projects if attend Teacher Workshop + 1 on 1 project preview with the SRC before the submission deadline.

Had 1-2 projects last year winning a category award (1st, 2nd, or HM )



10 projects/teacher.

Contact the SRC chair using the Contact link in the left sidebar

 Had 3 or more projects last year winning a category award
(1st, 2nd, or HM )


15 projects/year 



Contact the SRC chair using the Contact link in the left sidebar.

 Projects may be submitted early. This is especially recommended for vertebrate
animal and human subject projects. See the earlier deadline (listed on Home page)
or the High School deadline.
If your school would like to schedule a workshop, please contact our
SRC committee using the 'Contact Us' link.

    Tracking the Status of Students' Projects   

When you have submitted your students' projects to SCVSEFA, it is then their responsibility to track their project's status on the web site. Use the “Project Status” link to the left to find your projects and the assigned Project Number according to your school. Project status should be listed on the web site about 7-10 days following the deadline or an earlier mail submission. If you cannot find a project within 2 weeks of submission, please contact the fair manager.

Once entered, your projects will be listed as “project received – check back in 7 days”. After review for quality standards and to determine if safety issues need to be addressed, your project status will change to one of the following:

project accepted – everything is fine.

project failed to qualify – only given for major safety hazards or rules violations that cannot be corrected.


project incomplete – see your teacher. An e-mail note will have been sent to the teacher with the specific project number in the email subject line and a message.

§ If the message is "Quality Issues", check your procedures against the Minimum Quality Standards listed on the application form and on the web site. Resubmit your improved procedures as an e-mail reply to the note sent by the Safety Review Committee.


§ If the message is "Forms Violation", the note will specify the problem to be fixed. Continue to monitor the status of your project until it is listed as “accepted”.


Please make sure the subject matter of the projects correspond to the correct scientific category by using the link below

Science Fair Project Categories

Minimum Quality Standards for Projects

List of Discouraged Projects


Public Middle Schools   link
Public High Schools   link
Private Middle Schools   link
Private High Schools   link

                          Teachers'  Recommended Science Fair Books                          

Science Experiments and Projects for Students (ISBN 0-7872-6478-4)  Cothron

Classroom Culture Creatures Algae to Anoles (NSTA) (ISBN 0-87355-120-6)

A+ Science Fair Workbook and Project Journal grades 7-12 (ISBN 0-471-46719-7)  VanCleave

Science Projects Book 1 Project Ideas in the Life Sciences (ISBN 978-0-9794500-1-3) Neuhaus  gormleypublishing.com  also available in Chem/Biochem and Physics/Engineering.
The directors of the Synopsys Championship recommend the following book for parents, teachers, and students. It's the best science-fair book we've ever seen.

Brynie, Faith Hickman.
Painless Science Projects.

Barron's Educational Series, Inc.,
Hauppauge, NY. 1998.

More Information




Please help your students understand these Project Display Rules 
Project Display Rules  and Helpful Hints for Project Display

Registration will go much smoother and FASTER Tuesday, March 12, if each project has a completed:


(1) Compliance Checklist and


(2) Abstract Form  ready when the projects enter South Hall at SJCC . 


To facilitate this, I have links to the two forms (see bottom of this message).  The 2-page compliance checklist can be printed and copies distributed to the students (complete by hand, if desired).  The Abstract can be completed in the PDF form, saved and printed.  Also the Abstract blank form can be printed and the students complete at their own printer (set their printer margins to print on the Abstract blank form dimensions).


A 'Master Abstract' will be collected during registration March 11th and placed in the student's Application.  Therefore, make sure your students bring duplicate Abstract copies for presentation at their display board (Middle School projects need 10+ copies, High School projects need 15+ copies).



Parking may be tight in the convention center area.  There is no free parking at South Hall.  Please see our website parking info.


You may drop off your student and project at the curb on Viola St. next to the sign STUDENT DROP OFF.  However you may NOT dwell on Viola.  Make arrangements to contact your students (by cell phone) if you want to pick them up at the same sidewalk location.  If you want to come into the Exhibit Hall to help your students, you'll need to find a nearby public parking lot, and meet your student at the Information Desk inside.


Teachers who have a registration for Group Check-In (greater than 5 projects to bring in without student help), will have parking available on a first come/first serve basis near the South Hall provided space is available.  The parking attendants have a list of Group Check-In teachers.


Tuesday:  Fair Registration Noon – 6PM

Wednesday: Students at their Display Boards  2-6PM

Public Viewing 5 PM - 6 PM.

School Teachers (not parents/mentors/sponsors) may sign up to be aisle supervisors during the judging period
2-6PM by contacting the fair manager (see website).

2 page Compliance Checklist link

1 page interactive Abstract Form  link







 Engineering Design

Scientific Thought   (30 points )

  • Was the hypothesis clearly stated?
  • Was the experiment repeated several times?
  • Was the conclusion justified and properly drawn from experimental results?
  • Was sufficient preliminary research performed and applied?

Engineering Goal    (30 points )

  • Was the purpose/the engineering design criteria clearly stated?
  • What will be invented/ engineered?
  • Was there evidence of redesign and retest?
  • Were the engineering design criteria tested for each step of redesign?

Creativity    (30 points )

  • Is the project topic unique or the approach original?
  • Has the student used a novel approach for checking the hypothesis?

Creativity      (30 points )

  • Is the project topic unique or the approach original?
  • Has the student used a novel approach to test the engineering design criteria?

Thoroughness   (15 points)


  • Was adequate literary/online research conducted?
  • Did the student(s) look at different aspects of the problem – was it well planned?
  • Was there a project notebook?
  • Is the interpretation supported with data?
  • Are procedures and materials thoroughly documented?

Thoroughness   (15 points)


  • Was sufficient preliminary research performed and applied?
  • Did the student(s) look at different aspects of the problem – was it well planned?
  • Was there a project notebook?Are there adequate drawings, schematics, and/or other documentation?
  • Has each of the criteria been well tested?

Skill (15 points)

·         Does the student understand the subject?

·         Has the student used good laboratory skills – data gathering and analysis?

·         Did the student acknowledge mentoring or other help?

Skill (15 points )

·         Does the student understand the subject?

·         Has the student used good technical skills to arrive at the solution?

·         Did the student acknowledge mentoring or other help?

Clarity (10 points )


  • Is the abstract and project board accurate and understandable?
  • Was the oral presentation accurate and understandable?

Clarity (10 points )


  • Is the abstract and project board accurate and understandable?
  • Was the oral presentation accurate and understandable?


                           Registration for Group Check-In                  

Group Project Check-In. 
Schedule is updated daily, and can be seen on the Homepage prior to the fair

Middle School teachers who will be bringing a group of projects ( 5 or more) to Check-In March 12th may request assistance (Group Check-In) by sending an e-mail now  to the Fair Manager giving the name of the person who will be doing the check-in, and listing the project numbers for all projects they will be bringing (project numbers are given in the ‘project status’ section on the web site).  If you are checking in all your projects, you don't have to list each one, just indicate "ALL PROJECTS" in your email. Please pre-register for GROUP CHECK-IN  by e-mail before March ____. 

Group Check-In board processing ends at 5PM on Check-In day March ___.


Teachers at the Fair.  Only teachers employed by schools participating in the fair this year will be permitted in South Hall during judging.  They must be pre-registered and function as 'Hall Monitors/Supervisors' only (No interaction with judges is allowed).  They need to sign in at the Information/ Registration desk.  They must wear a teacher badge, and comply with rules stated on the teacher information sheet which teachers receive at registration. Teachers may register by contacting the website manager.

Teachers’ Role During Judging:

In addition to Judges, only registered adults with badges are allowed on the exhibit floor. The Santa Clara Valley Science and Engineering Fair thanks you for visiting us and would like you to act as both observer and as teachersupervisor while here! This supervision covers all students, not just your own students. Please follow these guidelines while on the floor during judging.  Wear your Name Badge. Pick up a name badge (with ribbons) at the Info/Teacher Registration desk. Please return it when you leave, so we can use it again next year.

The goal of supervision is to keep the students at their projects. Tell students wandering around, especially in groups, to return to their projects. Some do not understand the judging process and may think that the judging is over for them after they are visited by one or two judges. If judges come to the project, and the student is not there, the project may be disqualified.

Move around the floor. Do not station yourself in one spot (unless supervising a special needs student).    Watch for groups blocking the aisles, etc. Use your judgment.

You can observe and supervise generally, so the judges can work efficiently with the students at their projects.Move away when the judges are interviewing the students. Position yourself so neither the judge, nor student, can make eye contact with or otherwise interact with you.  This avoids criticism that you were trying to ‘coach’. Many students find the judging interview to be stressful and they may be more nervous if they know you are watching them.

Please speak to the students while they are not being judged. Many want to talk about their projects. It can be very lonely sitting at your project for 4 hrs if few adults come by to talk.   

Parents, Sponsors, and Mentors will not be allowed on the judging floor until 5:00 PM when public viewing opens.